The glutes are the largest muscles in the body; that is, for everyone except those of us destined to walk the earth with a flat ass for life.
The glutes provide most of the power for sprinting, jumping, deadlifting, and are even largely responsible for keeping your low back healthy. For serious athletes, having strong glutes can serious change your performance and speed.
Regardless of whether you are a bodybuilder, athlete, average joe, hardcore fitness enthusiast, or weekend Wild Warrior; having strong glutes will help prevent injuries and improve your performance in every activity.
It will also help you look better in shorts and tight pants.
If you want powerful athletic glutes so you can look like this guy (see below), you need to train those glutes at least once per week.
Refer to the video at the end for form and execution tips.
Here are our top 5 glute exercises (2023 Edition):
Glute Exercise #1: Squats (Any Variation)
Some trainers, especially Bret Contreras, will argue loaded thrusts are the ultimate glute exercise, but in our opinion squats are the King. Squats are a great glute exercise and offer a ton of variability and can be scaled to your ability using just your bodyweight, dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell. To really target the glutes, you a slightly wider stance than normal.
Glute Exercise #2: Hip Thrusters
Hip thrusts are definitely one of the best glute exercises, and as mentioned above, many top trainers would argue this exercise should be the top glute exercise on this list. That is because it is the only glute exercise that does not rely on other primary muscles to move the weight. It's all glutes baby!
Due to the popularity of this exercise in recent years, many gyms have added specialized machines that can help you load and perform this exercise safely. Prior to the invention of these machines you essentially had to lie under a barbell and hump the air. This is still an acceptable way to perform the exercise, but have a qualified trainer show you how so that you do not risk injury to your spine or pelvis.
If you are new to this exercise, start with the bodyweight glute bridge and hip thrust. Then progress to its weighted variations.
Glute Exercise #3: Deadlifts
Deadlifts are also an amazing glute exercise, and for obvious reasons. However, we chose not to list it in our top two, as the risk of overloading and spinal injury can increase as we age.
This is because the exercise is crazy dangerous. It's not. In fact, deadlifts are a very safe exercise when done correctly. The issue with deadlifts in most gyms is that there is a culture of overloading and shooting for PRs with this exercise, rather than focusing on a minimum effective dose.
If you are not a power athlete or powerlifter, hyper-loading or constantly pushing your spine to the limit is not the best strategy for optimizing your health and longevity. Keep your body strong and healthy, but do not do it at the expense of your joints.
Glute Exercise #4: Back Lunges
Back lunges are an awesome glute exercise that also works the quads, hamstring, and balance. Loaded back lunges really work the glutes, as the glutes must be engaged to decelerate and lower the body to the floor.
Add weight when able, either using a barbell, dumbbells, or a sandbag across the shoulders. Like all of these exercises, bodyweight variations are fine as well.
Glute Exercise #5: Sled Pushes
Sled pushes are seen by many as cardio or a conditioning exercise, but it is actually a great strength exercise as well. When done using a heavy load under a slow speed, the glutes must be maximally engage to press down and back to move the sled forward.
This is similar to a scorpion or kick-back motion, which would be the bodyweight equivalent of this exercise.
Other great glute exercises to try: Hyperextensions, Kettlebell Swings, and Romanian Deadlifts
That raps up our 2023 edition of the best glute exercises. When performing these the number of sets and reps you do will largely depend on goals, experience, and base level of strength.
As will all exercises, make sure to progress them slowly and to master the basic movements before loading them and moving on to more advanced variations. Life's a marathon not a sprint, so take your time and never risk injury. Even in the name of building incredible glutes.
Ready to Experience Nature's Most Powerful Superfoods? Click Here.
This post was written by Michael DiCroce, Founder/CEO of Wild Warrior Nutrition